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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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skull

Living and Dying in America

 

Difficult Births
 
Was This Baby Swaddled to Death?
 
Colonial Medicine
 
Pottery,
Pewter, & Poison

 
Lives Cut Short
 
Chapel Burials
 
Settling In


As threats of starvation and conflict receded, colonial society stabilized.

livestock
Recreation of a settlement at Historic St. Mary's City.
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1634, a new English colony was founded in the
northern Chesapeake, at a place the settlers named St. Mary’s City. Like Virginia, Maryland’s first years were fragile. But, at St. Mary’s City, the colonists planted crops immediately and established peaceful relations with the local Indians. Maryland also prospered from the tobacco trade, but it differed from Virginia in another respect. The English crown granted the land to a Roman Catholic—Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore. Maryland had no established state religion.

crucifix
Crucifix.
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

But in 1688, a revolution in England overthrew James II. The Calverts’ charter ended: Maryland became a royal colony. Its capital moved to Annapolis in 1695. Religious tolerance ended. St. Mary’s City was abandoned and turned into farmland. Its rural setting helped to preserve the fragile ruins of the early settlement under a thin layer of plowed soil.

 

 

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